Romania's Ruling Party Withdraws Political Support for Justice Minister

Romania’s ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) decided in an executive committee meeting on Wednesday to withdraw political support for Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, who had been heavily criticized for failing to adopt emergency decrees to amend the country’s criminal codes.

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Romania's Ruling Party Withdraws Political Support for Justice Minister

Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu confirmed after the meeting that the party voted to withdraw its support for Toader, who was appointed to the office in February 2017.

The information was also confirmed by Vrancea County Council president Marian Oprisan, who also said that he is convinced that President Klaus Iohannis will “violate the Constitution” by refusing to dismiss Toader and appoint a new nominee.

The minister is set to face a no-confidence motion in the Romanian Senate on Wednesday, which might pass in light of the social-democrats’ decision.

The motion will not automatically lead to the minister’s dismissal, but there is a high chance that he will be fired from the cabinet role by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, who previously said that Toader’s future will be decided by the party.

Tudorel Toader, a former constitutional judge, was appointed justice minister in February 2017 during the Sorin Grindeanu cabinet, after his predecessor, Florin Iordache, resigned amid massive street protests against a government emergency decree relaxing anticorruption laws.

He maintained the office during successive cabinets, despite being regularly criticized by the ruling Social Democrat Party for failing to amend the country’s judicial bills by emergency decree.

Toader also launched the procedure which resulted in the dismissal of former National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi in February 2018, which led to the Constitutional Court giving him precedence on appointing and dismissing top prosecutors over President Klaus Iohannis.

However, a similar attempt to dismiss General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar was rejected by the president. The minister recently launched a procedure to appoint a new general prosecutor, which was re-launched after he considered that none of the candidates were suitable for the role. He also failed to appoint a new DNA chief, after his proposal, Adina Florea, was also rejected by the president several times.

One of Toader’s rare judicial decrees, in February 2019, sparked nationwide protests among magistrates, before most of its provisions were abolished in a following repeal decree.

The minister was criticized by PSD leader Liviu Dragnea recently, who accused him of “tricking” the Parliament as he pledged to pass an emergency decree amending the country’s criminal codes, but later delayed to adopt it . Dragnea warned that the minister might have lost the party’s support

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